As you may have heard, Lucky Peach, the quarterly food journal put together by David Chang (Momofuku), Peter Meehan and the folks at Zero Point Zero Production (No Reservations) and published by McSweeney's, debuted yesterday. Ramen. Anthony Bourdain. Ruth Reichl. Harold McGee. More than enough reasons to go buy an old school lit magazine.
We thought we'd ask Meehan, who also co-wrote the Momofuku cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2009) a few questions. Because wouldn't you?
As for how Meehan and Chang hooked up in the first place, check out this hilarious video, in which Meehan admits to having absolutely hated Momofuku Noodle Bar in the beginning, like before he reviewed it for the New York Times. Turn the page.
Squid Ink: So in the intro to your first issue, it says that this was originally supposed to be a TV show. What happened? Why no television?
Peter Meehan: We did make “television” in a sense — we shot all over the world with ZPZ, the folks who make Tony Bourdain's show. The difference is the appliance you'll be able to watch the video on: it'll be on the iPad instead of on a TV set.
SI: You guys aren't worried about the death of print? In the post-Ariana Huffington universe, one would have thought you'd do a blog.
PM: Making a blog may have been smarter, but I'm a sucker for books and records and all kinds of physical media. You can't hold a blog, you know?
SI: You cannot. Sadly. So how do you decide what goes into the issues?
PM: Shots of Fernet + blindfold + dartboard.
SI: Did you guys have any publications that were (or are) inspirations for Lucky Peach? It seems kind of a throwback. That's a huge compliment, by the way.
PM: Tons of stuff. Yeti, a quarterly out of Portland. Thrasher. Grand Royal. Everybody involved with the magazine probably a bookshelf worth of things that influenced them and ended up influencing it.
SI: Including recipes is a fantastic idea. Will you keep doing that? How do you decide on those?
PM: Yes. We shoot them as part of the app and then put them in the magazine.
SI: One imagines you guys putting this together at 4 a.m. in one of Chang's restaurants, with requisite booze and food. Would that be far wrong?
PM: Subtract the food and restaurant, put half the people working on it on one coast the rest on the other, add the stress of having never done something like it before. But booze was definitely a part of it.
SI: What other subjects can we look forward to in coming issues? Can you tell us? Or are you guys making this up as you go along?
PM: Making it up as we go along. Expect less focus and more sportswriting in the future. (Or maybe not.)